March 25, 2009 12:36:41 am
As medical research institutes and organisations observed World Tuberculosis Day on Tuesday,senior research experts and doctors in the Capital voiced concerns over the continued threat of the deadly disease in the country.
Experts unanimously observe that trends among patients have shown significant changes. Earlier,the disease was more prevalent among the poor,the prime reasons being poor nutrition and living conditions. In recent years,however,there has been an increase in cases reported from the middle and upper-middle sections, said Dr V K Vijayan,Director,Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.
Increase in TB cases among the economically well-off can be attributed to higher levels of stress,long-term use of steroids and even organ transplants, he added.
Dr Vijayan pointed out that in India,50 percent of the population are reportedly infected with the TB bacilli but do not necessarily become sick with the disease. Only when a patient develops immuno-suppression do the bacilli multiply and result in the full-blown disease, he said.
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Another trend noticed is a shift from pulmonary TB (TB of the lungs0) to the extra-pulmonary type. Earlier,most TB cases were pulmonary. Nowadays,a higher number of abdominal,lymph-node,bone and brain TB are being reported, said Dr Balakrishnan Menon,Associate professor,Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute. The rise in Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB has also been significant,experts said. The government is trying to approach the issue through its DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Strategy) Plus programme,to be launched on April 1,, said Dr Menon.
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